What It Means to Work in Financial Counterterrorism

It might not be the kind of work you'd expect

It's an evolving line of work.

When reading reports about financial misconduct, it’s not uncommon to hear reports of a company or other institution having broken financial counterterrorism laws. It came up in 2017, for instance, when the Australian government took action against a betting company for not having acted in compliance with certain laws. But while both counterterrorism and financial crimes are comprehensible on their own, the ways in which they can interact have a tendency to get a little more complex.

In a new article at CrimeReads, Adam Oyebanji shared his own experience of working in financial counterterrorism. As he writes, “when I tell people what I do, it almost invariably brings them up short.”

For his part, Oyebanji describes his work in a straightforward manner. “If you can deprive a terrorist (or a drug dealer, or a human trafficker, or a rogue state) of money, they will have less to spend on whatever nefarious activity they are up to and less of that nefarious activity will take place,” he wrote.

He goes on to explain that he works for a bank — and that, in his understanding, banks have a substantial amount of work to do when it comes to looking into their own records. “[I]t is the banks that have to figure out if that person has an account with them and not someone with a similar name,” Oyebanji wrote regarding people who are the target of sanctions. Or, as he phrased it later in the article, it involves “playing hide and seek with a sanctioned person’s assets.”

“I’m a knowledge worker,” he added. “James Bond it is not.” And while Oyebanji’s literary forays have been in decidedly non-Ian Fleming directions, it does sound like he’ll have plenty of material to draw on if he ever does write something that shares a setting with his day job.

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